The Bible says that grace saves us: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8 KJV) There is nothing that we can do to save ourselves from sin. However, there are things that we must do, to put ourselves in the position where we can receive the grace that saves us. Those things are summarized in the passage above in the word “faith.” In other words, without faith on our part, we would not be saved by the grace of God. So what are those things that we must do on our part that are summarized in the word “faith” in Ephesians 2:8?
Before we answer the main question, we need to understand what true biblical faith is. True biblical faith, is a faith that is produced by the hearing of the word of God: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17 KJV) It is a faith that is accompanied by actions: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26 KJV) We must have an acting faith in order to please God: “But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 KJV) Notice that the Hebrews writer said that those who please God, believe that he exists, and believe also that God rewards good actions. We have here in this passage what biblical faith is, it is not just belief, but it involves actions.
One cannot be saved by faith (just believing) alone: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24 KJV) In Hebrews chapter eleven one will find various examples of true biblical faith. For example: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7 KJV) God told Noah what to do and what will happen. Noah showed true faith when he took God at His word and did what God said to do saving his family and the animals on the Ark. What is biblical faith? It is simply taking God at His word and doing what God said to do. One will see this pattern throughout Hebrews eleven and in other places of scriptures.
What must I do to be saved? Here are the five steps to salvation:
- One must hear the Word of God (Rom. 10:17)
- To hear means to logically understand the Word of God.
- Biblical Faith will produce from the process of hearing.
- One must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24)
- To believe in Jesus means you have reasoned with many pieces of evidence in scripture of Jesus being the son of God. You understand that he is your savior who died for your sins and rose again on the third day to be your King.
- When you say you believe in Jesus, you are saying you will do what Jesus says for you to do in order to be saved (Matt. 7:21-23).
- One must repent of sins (Acts 17:30)
- To repent means to change your mind about sin. Your actions will show this change of mind. You are saying that you do not want to hurt God anymore, and you are willing to give up all the awful and terrible things that God hates.
- You are not just to give up sin, but also with repentance, you want to live a better life. Not a sinless life because we are not perfect, but a life that brings God glory.
- One must confess Jesus as Lord (Matt. 10:32-33).
- To confess Jesus is to proclaim before witnesses that you believe in him as your lord and savior.
- Confession shows that you agree with the Bible that Jesus is God and that you are willing to follow him no matter the cost.
- One must be baptized (Mark 16:16)
- Baptism is for the remission of our sins. Without baptism, there is no salvation for all who are under the New Testament (if you are living today, you are under the New Testament). “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (1 Peter 3:21 KJV)
- When you are baptized, you put on Christ: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27 KJV)
- When you are baptized, you die to sin: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1–4 KJV)
- When you are baptized you are agreeing with the Bible that this is how God adds you to the one church: “Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47 KJV) (see the article on “Jesus Is The Only Way” for more on the one church).
When Paul wrote: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8 KJV), he is speaking to those who have heard the Word, believe in Jesus, repent of their sins, confess Jesus is Lord and were baptized for the remission of their sins. When you do all these things, then what Paul said to the Ephesians, can be said of you.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32 KJV)